Greenwood firefighter helping with recovery efforts in Texas

A Greenwood firefighter and another 20 emergency workers from Indiana are helping with hurricane relief efforts in Texas, offering assistance with water rescues and dealing with hazardous materials.

Firefighter Justin Larway was assigned to travel to Texas as part of the Indy Task Force 1 water rescue team.

The task force, one of 28 urban search and rescue teams across the country managed by the Department of Homeland Security, has more than 200 members on a rotating schedule to determine who is called up during an emergency. Part of the team arrived Sunday, while the others arrived in Texas on Monday after a more than 1,000-mile drive, spokesperson Mike Pruitt said.

On Wednesday morning, the water rescue team was staging in Katy, Texas, with its six boats, he said.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall Friday evening in Texas as a Category 4 storm, dropping more than 50 inches of rain on the region. The team could be deployed as long as 21 days, and right now, officials don’t know when they’ll be back, Pruitt said.

“We are currently prepared to send more team members if that is requested,” Pruitt said. “We are prepared to go if the request is made.”

With the potential for more hurricanes forming in the next few weeks, this might not be the only deployment for Task Force 1 this summer, Pruitt said.

The task force trains year round to be prepared to help during hurricanes or other natural disasters. The most recent emergency the group responded to was Hurricane Matthew, which struck Florida last year, he said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.